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This book, An Introduction to the Bible by Robert Kugler and Patrick Hartin, is a comprehensive, theological, historical, and literary introduction to the books of the Bible. The authors focus on the text and what is most essential to communicate to those who have little or no biblical knowledge. The Old Testament is divided into four sections 1) Pentateuch; 2) Historical Books; 3) the Writings; 4) the Prophets, with an antecedent section called "Framework for Reading the Old Testament". Likewise, the NT is broken into four sections 1) Synoptic Gospels; 2) Letters of Paul; 3) Johannine Tradition; 4) General Letters and Revelation and is also accompanied by an antecedent "Framework" chapter.
Many current Bible intro volumes focus more on theories about the biblical text than on the text itself. They lack the simplicity that has become increasingly crucial as basic biblical literacy has declined. Robert Kugler and Patrick Hartin seek to remedy that problem by turning readers back to the text at hand. Their Introduction to the Bible surveys the content of all the biblical books, section by section, focusing on the Bibles theological themes.
Daniel J. Harrington, S.J.
Boston College School of Theology and Ministry
"Two veteran teachers and distinguished scholars have joined forces to present a solid and up-to-date introduction to both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament. They are especially effective in showing how to read the Bible on the literary, historical, and theological levels. Their work is ideal for a college course, personal study, and long-term reference."
Dale C. Allison Jr.
Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
"This comprehensive, thoroughly informed, and lavishly illustrated volume, produced by the collaboration of two experts one Protestant, one Catholic achieves that to which it aspires: it is clarity itself. This is the perfect introduction for undergraduates."
Gary A. Anderson
University of Notre Dame
"This fine introductory volume does precisely what it sets out to do: it presents readers with an outline of what to look for as they make their way through the biblical text. The commentary does not overpower the reader with scholarly theories; instead it allows the reader to confront the text as it stands."
Susan A. Calef
"Onto the crowded shelf of introductions to the Bible comes this welcome addition. Acknowledging that much of the Bible is narrative witness to a people's experience of God, the authors add two things that set this textbook apart from others. They incorporate narrative criticism into their approach to the biblical texts, without, however, neglecting the results of historical-critical methods; and they identify the theological claims made by each biblical book.
Those attentive to the pedagogical challenges of teaching Bible to undergraduates will appreciate the organization and standard elements of each chapter: Getting Started exercises by which to pique student interest in the text; a concise Walk Through the content of the particular biblical book; introduction to the 'Critical Issues' in studying the particular book; and, identification of the book's Theological Themes. A Glossary, Questions for Review and Discussion, and recommendations for Further Reading are also provided.
Not likely to sit on an office shelf collecting dust, this volume, with its useful pedagogical features and its attention to the Bible as theological witness, has much to offer for those teaching introductory Bible courses in theology departments and seminaries."
Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, Graduate Theological Union
"Can there be anything new under the sun by way of introductions to the Bible? I find this contribution by Robert Kugler and Patrick Hartin well planned and brimming with useful maps, charts, questions, frameworks, and art. It's clear that these two authors are competent guides for our students, and they make a familiar journey fresh for instructors as well."Expository Times
"This [volume] is extremely well done: judiciously organized and impressively wide-ranging."
Review of Biblical Literature
"In their introductory volume Kugler and Hartin provide a clear and organized textbook for students approaching the Bible for the first time. . . . The strengths of this textbook lie in its well-organized and structured chapters, rich illustrations and photographs, and extremely useful maps, graphs, and charts."
"This introduction would be quite useful for an undergraduate course. Because of its balance and thoroughness, pastors, teachers, and other church leaders might use it as a companion to a Bible dictionary."
The Living Church
"Surprisingly fresh and useful. . . . [The authors] bring together their distinctive expertise and confessional backgrounds to provide an evenhanded and ecumenical approach to the Christian Bible."
The Bible Today
"The text is generously laced with maps, reliefs, and pictures from both the ancient Near East and the world of the New Testament. This book is certainly a new type of introduction and is based on sound pedagogical principles. It will make an ideal textbook for seminaries and universities, while not being above the interests and capacities of the educated reader."